This is a hand operated adding machine my mother-in-law used to keep the books for my father-in-law’s business. It served its purpose for decades. We found it in our attic (along with several spare rolls of paper) when we downsized 3 years ago.
A local antique store was happy to take it off our hands and give it a new home.
What I remember most are her bright red fingernails.
Each shiny nail a perfect oval.
I must have been quite young as her hands were close to my line of sight at the kitchen counter. Watching my mother demonstrate how to flute a pie crust.
First flatten the dough onto the pan’s rim. Press your right forefinger into the dough on the edge. At the same time, pinch the dough around it using your left thumb and forefinger…to form an even point. Repeat the process around the pan until there is a circle of neat grooves. Sealing the top and bottom crusts together. So the juices from all the freshly sliced apples don’t leak out during baking.
The process of fluting is difficult to explain – which is probably why she showed me. Many times.
She was careful. Gentle. No hurrying. No impatient sighs. Voice unusually soft and low. See? This is how you do it. I was mesmerized. Each indentation she made on the crust’s edge forced bits of dough and flour onto and under her nails…red polish slowly disappearing. The tips of her fingers eventually a dusty white.
My mother also wore matching lipstick…which outlined the ever-present red slice of discontent on her face…
…which momentarily slipped away when she was working on a piecrust.
Calmly focused on the pie pan as she expertly rotated it…pressing her manicured fingers methodically into the fresh dough…she was an Artist at Work.
When we downsized in 2016 one of the many things eliminated was more than half of our record collection. Vinyl records…LPs and 45’s. We sold some to a local antique dealer. We sold some at a garage sale. We gave some away. Most we don’t miss. Some we do.
We saved two cabinets’ worth. No way was I parting with my collection of Carole King records or the “Three Bs” Barbra, Bonnie and Bette. Or classic Original Movie and Broadway Cast Recordings…Hello Dolly, West Side Story, Porgy and Bess, Saturday Night Fever…to name just a few. My tattered 4 record set 97 WWDJ/TOP HITS made the cut. My husband and I combined our Beatles collections via negotiating sentimental value of each. My beer stained copies of Meet the Beatles and The Beatles’ Second Album won out. My collections of The Carpenters, Herman’s Hermits and The Moody Blues did not.
Fortunately we still own our original turntable from the 1970s. My musician husband has maintained it meticulously over the years, along with the receiver and multiple wires and jacks and whatever. Including a cassette deck. And a CD player. No wireless mp3 system for us!
He also alphabetized all our music. The records are organized first by genre and then by last name or group. We have a zillion CDs alphabetized the same way. Phew.
One of the two record cabinets sits under the window in the living room area of our condo. Never mind that I flashback to dorm life.
A reminder of when rock was young…and when we were young as well.
[We are also well aware that this collection will be the only thing our daughter and son will probably fight over when we are long gone. I doubt they’ll wish I had saved Close to You or Days of Future Passed….so I can rest easy]